Taking the painkiller ibuprofen while running long distances can increase the risk of acute kidney injury, researchers say.
A study by Grant Lipman of Stanford University School of Medicine and Brian Krabak of the University of Washington-Seattle, the senior author of the study, notes that as many as 75 percent of ultra marathoners use the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, a Stanford School of Medicine release said. Those taking the painkiller "while running very long distances double their risk of acute kidney injury," according to the release.
“Running these races tends to hurt,” Lipman said in the release. “In medical school, we were all taught to be careful of ibuprofen because it decreases blood flow to the kidneys.”
Lipman said "almost all previous studies looking at the effect of the drug on the kidneys in running events have shown no negative effects," according to the release, so he and his colleagues decided to test it for themselves.
In the study, 89 participants were chosen to participate in a 50-mile section of one of four different seven-day, 155-mile ultramarathons. They were required not to take ibuprofen at least 12 hours prior to the first section of the race.
“The morning of this 50-mile section of the race, the participants came to the medical tent,” Lipman said in the release. “We weighed them and gave them a baggie and said to take these pills every four hours. They were given either 400 milligrams of ibuprofen or sugar pills. Nobody knew which. And instructed to take one every four hours. And they ran off.”
“Studies show that for most people, this acute kidney injury is usually resolved within a day or two after the race,” he said in the release. “However, numbers of runners have ended up being hospitalized from renal failure.”